Exercise 9: What Inspires You
It’s in my bones. It’s a part of me and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Ever since I can remember I dreamed of seeing the Pyramids of Egypt and the Castles of Europe, of learning about new cultures and tasting new foods. I loved history and art because of this and I used to build cardboard castles for my Knight’s Legos and dream about a time where Robin Hood was more than just a story told to kids. I dreamed of having a house full of artworks I had collected from all over the world and as I grew, so did my love of art, photography and history and it reflected in my higher studies.
Today, as a working artist, I still dream of the same things I did when I was a kid and now I am married to a man who loves to travel as much as I do. But travel to me isn’t just about exploring new places, it’s also a way for my soul to find new inspiration. Whenever I feel like my work is less than inspired, I subconsciously start dreaming of a place I’ve never been, of seeing things I’ve never seen and experiencing things I’ve never experienced… and almost instinctively, I will plan a trip.
Booking a trip is like getting new wind in your sails. It brings back that spark in my soul that may dim in the darker months. I get so excited that I’ll start packing over a week early and the first things I pack are always my moleskin sketchpad and a pencil, my camera and a good guidebook so I can read all about the history of the place I will be jetting off to. Without fail. Soon, thanks to my Husband (who can always see when that spark in my soul is fading), I will be fulfilling a dream I’ve had for a long time of seeing Marrakech, a Photographer’s paradise and travel enthusiast’s dream.
Travelling is like seeing the world with new eyes and it forever changes you. You are never the same person you were leaving as you are coming back and I absolutely love that. It’s one of the few things that truly inspires me, not just in my own work, but in my life, too. I often note that in my personal life I can neglect the artistic expression I give to so many of my clients, but when I travel I break out of that box I put myself in and I often break the rules a little (with my work) and I always, always, come away more inspired with fresh ideas and approaches to my professional work, which is a direct result from focusing more on my private work during travelling.
Sometimes, in order to find solid ground at home, you need to let your soul wander abroad, first.
Canon 5DMKII. Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 @ f/4.0, ISO 400, 1/8000
In the summer of 2014 my Husband and I decided to take a road trip down to the south of France from Sweden to soak up some sun, and as I was deciding which books to take, I picked up my copy of Alessandra Cave‘s gem, Shooting With Soul. I ended up completing a good number of the exercises in the book but instead of doing them in order, like the book suggests, I chose to complete them whenever I felt the opportunity presented itself during that time. I also used whatever I had available in terms of gear, which was not a lot and many times presented a really limiting challenge. I did not, and could not, complete all of the projects in the book on the trip, so I shall continue them now that we’re back home in Sweden. This image was completed at The Bund in Shanghai, China.